Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Road Trip to Prince Edward County - Ontario Canada

In light of recent global events, we should all remember that it is okay to unplug from social media and take a break from stressful news. Tuning out negativity and escaping to a peaceful environment can be therapeutic and relaxing.

Since non-essential international travel has been put on hold, my family decided to hit the open road and explore a different part of Ontario. Driving just 2-4 hours outside the city reveals rugged landscape, diverse wildlife and amazing beaches.

Road trips have become a relatively safe alternative to vacationing overseas, as long as we all take precautions and keep our distance.

I’ve already been to several destinations in northern Ontario, cottage country and the Niagara region, so we packed the cooler and headed east to Prince Edward County (PEC).

Hotels may be difficult to find during the summer but we managed to book cozy accommodations in the charming town of Picton.

Travel tip: Before making reservations, call the property to confirm availability.

The drive took about 2 hours and there are rest stops along the way. If you have time, make sure to check out The Big Apple in Colborne Ontario (you'll see it from the highway)

This is a great place to take the family because there is a large candy store, outdoor patio, mini golf and a petting zoo. Make sure to visit the awesome bakery. They sell apple everything including bread, beaver tails, pie, wine, honey, jam, cider and slushies. The crumble with vanilla ice cream is delicious!

Our hotel was open for business but due to COVID-19 they’ve had to adapt. When we arrived there was no check-in desk. All correspondence, bookings and payment was done online and the key was left in a lockbox on the front door. When I called for extra towels, they were put in a bag on the porch and at check-out we simply left the key in the room and locked the door. Each unit has its own entry so there was no physical interaction with staff or guests.

Picton is very small but there are restaurants, breweries, shops and a theater (many of which were closed or restricted to take-out, delivery and curb-side pick-up).

Update: Most of Ontario has moved into stage three of reopening businesses.Most services should now be available. 

I highly recommend Slickers Ice Cream (we had dessert there every day). The parlor has been making all-natural artisan flavors for over 20 years! My favorite is Jazzberry – a delicious strawberry, blueberry, raspberry and blackberry medley. Coconut Bounty is amazing and we also tried chocolate peanut butter and apple pie.

For dinner you can’t go wrong with Pie Guys Pizza but call ahead to avoid a long wait.

When you pick up the pizza, walk a couple streets over and check out The Picton United Church - off the main road.

Most people visit PEC for the incredible wineries, lavender fields, food tours and farmers markets but since many attractions are currently closed (thanks again COVID), we went to Sandbanks Provincial Park – the highlight of most trips to the county.

Travel tip: Park your car in designated lots or you might get a ticket.

Hiking trails and beaches are open but lounging on the sand, setting up beach chairs and swimming is not yet permitted (they want visitors to maintain a safe distance). Rules may change as the season progresses and the state of emergency is lifted so check for updates.

We went to Dunes Beach (which wasn’t my favorite) and then drove to Wellington Beach which is picturesque despite an abundance of delicate seashells and small rocks.

On clear sunny days the water at Wellington is Caribbean blue!

There are many great places to watch the sunset.

Drive along the scenic coast and enjoy the cool breeze.

Stormy weather can make for some interesting photography.

Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife. I didn't spot any bears or deer but I did see a guinea fowl for the first time and quite a few hawks.

Lake on the Mountain is a unique body of water. It is hard to explain but as the name suggests, the lake is atop a mountain so you can see it above you while driving uphill. Down in the valley across the road, there is another gorgeous lake - it is a phenomenon you have to experience to appreciate.

On your way home stop at Zwick’s Park on Bay of Quinte. It is well maintained and has a great view of the bridge. Watch out for brown snakes hiding along the shore.

I'd love to visit Prince Edward County again when everything reopens but this road trip was fun!

Need help planning your next adventure? Check out my Road Trip Guide for helpful tips.

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